From options expirations to Federal Open Market Committee meetings, there are dozens of market-moving events scheduled each week. And although I trade, communicate, strategize and benchmark electronically, I still rely on Econoday -- the dog-eared, beat-up, scribbled-on paper calendar I've used since I was a trading floor clerk -- to get a view of my market week.
Need to know what time the Wholesale Trade report comes out next Tuesday? (10 a.m. EST) Or when the major inflation readings will be announced? (Producer Price Index, next Thursday at 7:30 a.m.; Consumer Price Index, next Friday, 7:30 a.m.). While that information is now available online, I still prefer my coffee and mustard-stained paper version, which is loaded with market factoids on everything from the Bond Buyer Index to Capacity Utilization Rates to keep me occupied while I wait for that limit order to be filled.
Markets have grown beyond the trading pit or specialist's post, and are now globalized and democratized. From college kids scalping leveraged exchange-traded funds to high-frequency firms trading E-minis, we're all liquidity providers now, making where you get your market data (even if it's simply your broker's own website) even more important. Considering prices are what we trade, you must feel confident those prices are fast -- and right.
When it comes to my literal view of the market, I'm fiercely loyal to CQG, the pro and semi-pro charting and graphics platform that has turned technical analysis into fine art. From Fibonacci retracements to fan lines, implied volatility to an indicator called "Ichimokukinkouhyou," the company's system is completely intuitive, customizable and precise.
Recently having celebrated its 30th anniversary, CQG has long been known around trading floors as an essential tool. When I'm checking a chart, chances are I'm checking it on a CQG.
Finally, my favorite long-term view of the markets is the ten-year chart, a must-see for nearly every security I review. Even though trades are now processed in milliseconds, seeing a decade's worth of price action assuming the stock or fund has that long of a track record provides an unmatched perspective on where shares may be headed.
Over that time frame, for example, one can see how shares of Cisco (CSCO),
The Long View:
When it comes to actually timing an entry or exit point, I'll obviously opt for a shorter-term chart, but I always like to start my analysis with the long view. Considering the average holding time for NYSE-listed stocks is now about 7 months, it seems as though other investors might benefit from a big picture perspective as well.
At the Close
From men dressed as bats to giant automotive robots, LaSalle Street has always attracted plenty of gunslingers beyond the floor brokers at the CME's Chicago Board of Trade. Three years ago we noted how "The Dark Knight" featured plenty of money shots of the futures exchange's famous fa ade. Now it's Megatron's turn to get a margin call.
Decepticon daytrading wheat outside the Chicago Board of Trade Still from "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon", which filmed extensively in Chicago's financial district last summer, opens in theaters next month.
Jonathan Hoenig is managing member at Capitalistpig Hedge Fund LLC.